John Darvall

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Sir
John Darvall
Solicitor-General
In office
6 June 1856 – 25 August 1856
Preceded by First Appointment
Succeeded by Alfred Lutwyche
In office
3 October 1856 – 23 May 1857
Preceded by Alfred Lutwyche
Succeeded by Edward Wise
8th Attorney-General of New South Wales
In office
26 May 1857 – 7 September 1857
Preceded by William Manning
Succeeded by James Martin
In office
1 August 1863 – 15 October 1863
Preceded by John Hargrave
Succeeded by James Martin
In office
3 February 1865 – 20 June 1865
Preceded by James Martin
Succeeded by John Plunkett
Personal details
Born (1809-11-19)19 November 1809
Felixkirk,Yorkshire, England
Died 28 December 1883(1883-12-28) (aged 74)
London, England

John Darvall (19 November 1809 – 28 December 1883) was an Australian barrister and politician. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council between 1844 and 1856 and again between 1861 and 1863. He was also a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for three periods between 1856 and 1865. He held the positions of Solicitor-General and Attorney-General in a number of short-lived colonial governments.

Early life[edit]

Darvall was born into an upper-middle class Yorkshire family and was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. Subsequently, he was articled to his uncle, Sir John Bayley at the Middle Temple and was called to the English Bar in 1838. He emigrated to Sydney in 1839 and established a large, private legal practice. Darvall accrued significant agricultural and pastoral interests and was a director of several colonial companies, a number of which failed in the depression of the early 1840s. He declined a judgeship in Victoria in 1851 and was appointed as a Queen's Counsel in 1853, a CMG in 1869 and a KCMG in 1877. Darvall returned to England in 1865 and continued in legal practice. He was a great-uncle of Banjo Paterson and related through marriage to Edmund Barton.

State Parliament[edit]

In 1844, prior to the establishment of responsible self-government, Darvall was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council. He was a loyal supporter of the government until, unable to support the continuing nomination of members, he resigned in 1848. He was then elected to the Council, initially for the seat of Bathurst (County) and between 1851 and 1856 as the member for Cumberland (County). Darvall styled himself as a "Patrician Liberal" and was a supporter of John Dunmore Lang and Charles Cowper. He opposed the 1853 Constitution Bill of William Charles Wentworth because of its provision for an hereditary upper house.

Following the granting of self-government, Darvall was elected to the first Legislative Assembly as one of the two members for the seat of Cumberland (North Riding). He was surprisingly appointed as the first Solicitor-General in the conservative and short-lived government of Stuart Donaldson. He was also Solicitor-General and subsequently Attorney- General in the government of Henry Parker between 1856 and 1857. Darvall became concerned by the effects of manhood suffrage and the colony's liberal land distribution schemes and resigned from the Assembly in November 1857. He subsequently joined the conservative Constitutional Association and was elected in their interest for the seat of Hawkesbury at the 1859 election. His opposition to the Free Selection of Crown Lands led to significant dissension in the electorate and he did not contest the 1860 election.

While opposed to parliamentary nominations, he nevertheless accepted a nomination to the Legislative Council in 1861. He used his period in the Council to press for its conversion into an elected house and for a limitation on its powers over money bills. However, at the same time, he also expressed concerns at the excesses of colonial democracy. He resigned from the Council in June 1863 to successfully contest a by-election for the seat of East Maitland and on re-entering the assembly he almost immediately accepted the position of Attorney-General in the liberal government of Charles Cowper. Cowper's government fell in October of that year and at the subsequent election he was elected as one of the four members for West Sydney. He was again made Attorney-General by Cowper but resigned in 1865 to return to England.

References[edit]

Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
First Election
Member for Cumberland (North Riding)
1856 – 1857
Served alongside: Pye
Succeeded by
Thomas Smith
Preceded by
New Seat
Member for Hawkesbury
1859 – 1860
Served alongside: Piddington
Succeeded by
James Cunneen
Preceded by
James Dickson
Member for East Maitland
1863 – 1864
Succeeded by
Alexander Dodds
Preceded by
Geoffrey Eagar
Member for West Sydney
1864 – 1865
Served alongside: Lang, Robertson, Joseph
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Eagar
Political offices
Preceded by
First responsible government
Solicitor-General
1856
Succeeded by
Alfred Lutwyche
Preceded by
Alfred Lutwyche
Solicitor-General
1856 – 1857
Succeeded by
Edward Wise
Preceded by
William Manning
Attorney-General
1857
Succeeded by
James Martin
Preceded by
John Hargrave
Attorney-General
1863
Succeeded by
James Martin
Preceded by
James Martin
Attorney-General
1865
Succeeded by
John Plunkett